Geelani to Intensify Stir Ahead of Obama's India Visit

Srinagar, Oct 30 (IANS) No curfew was imposed in Srinagar Saturday even though the separatists called for a shutdown and hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani asked people to intensify protests ahead of US President Barack Obama's India visit.

"Our freedom struggle has entered a crucial phase and the next 10 days are very important...when the US president visits India, the attention of the world is going to remain focused on South Asia.

"Our resistance programme has not only created awareness about Kashmir and the sufferings of its people internationally, but has also given sleepless nights to India," Geelani said in a statement here Friday evening.

Obama is visiting India for four days, Nov 6-9, and will be in Mumbai and New Delhi.

The hardline separatist leader has been spearheading the 'Quit Kashmir' campaign for over four months in the Valley since June 11. A total of 110 people have lost their lives in the continuing unrest in the Valley since then.

Geelani's protest programme got a shot in the arm from remarks made by Abdullah Alam, assistant general secretary of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and special representative of the OIC secretary general on Jammu and Kashmir, at an event organised by Pakistan International School and Pakistan consul general in Jeddah Friday.

"The OIC believes the settlement of Kashmir is not far away and people of the state, after so many years of suffering, deserve full respect for their legitimate right to self-determination. Surely, its (settlement) is not far away," Abdullah Alam had said.

Meanwhile, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, has decided to convene a conference of the local Ulemas in Srinagar to take a firm stand against what he describes "as continuing efforts of authorities to disallow Friday prayers at the historic Jamia Mosque in Srinagar".

Authorities have been imposing curfew or restrictions in areas vulnerable to stone pelting in Old City in Srinagar during the last four months to prevent violence post Friday prayers.

The Jamia Mosque is situated in the Nowhatta area of the Old City that has seen bloody clashes between security forces and youths ever since the separatists announced the 'Quit Kashmir' campaign June 11.

The announcement of protest calendars by the separatists followed the death of a schoolboy Tufail Mattoo, who was killed after a stray tear smoke shell hit him in Rajouri Kadal area of the city near the Jamia Mosque.

But despite the call for intensifying protests, authorities did not impose curfew.

"There is no curfew anywhere in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley except Delina, Palhalan and Bandipora towns of north Kashmir today (Saturday)", a police officer said here.

Shops remained closed in Srinagar and while public transport went off roads, private vehicles plied on city roads.



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Title: Geelani to Intensify Stir Ahead of Obama's India Visit

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